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Visual Arts at Harbourfront Centre opens new summer exhibitions
Saturday, June 18, 2011

TORONTO, ON (Thursday, June 16, 2011)Harbourfront Centre presents a variety of new visual arts projects at Harbourfront Centre this summer that focus on the “big idea” of Hot Spot. Exhibits run from Saturday, June 18 through Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011.

On any given day, there are dozens of ideas to explore at Harbourfront Centre, across a broad range of artistic disciplines and cultural programmes. There are zones of intensity, artistic brilliance, connectivity, regions of conflict – all of these shape the impressions we have of ourselves and our world. Hot spots may not always be comfortable, but they are conduits of change. Embrace change or defy it – it is ultimately up to you. This summer, Harbourfront Centre presents programming that asks: What’s your hot spot? We call this “The Big IDEA” and present it for you to consider as part of your Harbourfront Centre experience. It's our way of highlighting just one of the many ideas you’ll find here year-round.

The artists featured this summer at Harbourfront Centre include Amanda Henderson, Andrew Hunter, Becky Comber, Bozica Radjenovic, Chao-Liang Shen, Chari Cohen, Dawn Petticrew, Erin Riley, Garett Walker, Janet Macpherson, Jeremy Hatch, Jesse Bromm, Keesic Douglas, Laura Mckibbon, Lisa Hirmer, Lorčne Bourgeois, Mark Kasumovic, Martie Giefert, Meera Margaret Singh, Rob MacInnis and Stephanie Fortin.

Four new projects in the architecture gallery by Department of Unusual Certainties, David Lieberman Architect, Khoury Levit Fong and visual artist Jason van Horne propose possibilities for a NEW CITY LANDSCAPE.

Join us for the public opening reception on Friday, June 17 from 6-10 p.m. at Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West. Admission to the reception and exhibitions is FREE. For more information, the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit

Main Gallery Exhibition Hours: Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday, 12-6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 12-8 p.m., closed Mondays except holidays, 12-6 p.m.
Craft Studio Regular Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Summer 2011: Visual Arts

o DODOLAB: IDEAS OF CANADA: An interactive project that creatively explores national identity and current perceptions of Canada.
o VESTIAIRE/CLOAKROOM: An investigation of the relationship between clothing and the human body.
o STAGE: Photos representing the moveable “truck theatres” unique to Taiwanese cabaret.
o BRING TO MIND: Four artists use specific associations with ceramics to respond to the world around them.
o FIRST HAND: Artists newly accepted into Harbourfront Centre’s artist-in-residency programme exhibit their work.
o BEYOND IMAGININGS: Eight photographers explore the importance of Ontario’s Greenbelt.
o SWEATER FOR A PINE TREE: An examination of the relationship between material, constructed form and language.

Summer 2011: Architecture

o NEW CITY LANDSCAPE: How do we define a city landscape? What is the purpose of landscape in an urban environment? What is the role of the natural in our experience of landscape? The Department of Unusual Certainties, David Lieberman Architect and Khoury Levit Fong propose possibilities for a NEW CITY LANDSCAPE. Visual artist Jason van Horne contributes to the exhibition with a mixed-media installation.

More about Summer 2011 Visual Arts at York Quay Centre:

This first component of the IDEAS OF CANADA project is an interactive installation featuring dioramas of collections of "representative objects" that define Canada. DODOLAB: IDEAS OF CANADA is a 2010 Harbourfront Centre Fresh Ground new works commission-winning project. DODOLAB is an art and design–based program lead by Lisa Hirmer and Andrew Hunter that researches, engages and responds to contemporary community challenges, with a particular focus on the natural world, social systems, the built environment and cities in transition. They employ creative public interventions that are truly collaborative, encourage and evolve out of dialogue and critical reflection, and that strive for tangible and meaningful outcomes.

Lorčne Bourgeois
Lorčne Bourgeois creates an installation of large drawings and a short archival film investigating the subject of clothing and its relation to the human body. The exhibition is a reflection upon the way garments may disclose or conceal the human form, and the way they seem to oscillate between functionality and theatre, and between absurdity and threat.
Chao-Liang Shen
Since the 1970s, Taiwanese society has developed a unique cabaret culture. In the early years, towns would invite performing groups for a variety of occasions. In order to move conveniently around the country, they chose to perform in a camp or on a truck modified specifically for the performance. The photos in STAGE focus on the moving stage itself, usually a “truck theatre” which is regarded as an integral part of the performance.
It is hoped that, through the windows of these colorful truck theatres, the diversity and richness of Taiwanese culture can be introduced to more people from around the world.

Chari Cohen, Jeremy Hatch, Laura Mckibbon and Dawn Petticrew
Curated by Melanie Egan
The convergence of making and thinking is a constant for contemporary craft artists and designers. Artists use specific associations with material to respond to the world around and within them. They create an external and internal dialogue through making. The work of these particular artists has an air of reminiscence without being trapped by sentimentalism, nostalgic without being basic or false.

Jesse Bromm, Stephanie Fortin, Amanda Henderson and Janet Macpherson
Curated by Melanie Egan and Patrick Macaulay
Artists newly accepted into Harbourfront Centre’s artist-in-residence programme exhibit their works, demonstrating they are among the best and brightest of Canada’s contemporary craft scene.

Becky Comber, Keesic Douglas, Martie Giefert, Mark Kasumovic,
Rob MacInnis, Erin Riley, Meera Margaret Singh and Garett Walker
Throughout Harbourfront Centre's 10-acre site, eight emerging photographers present 72 large-scale images that document their exploration of Ontario's Greenbelt. The third phase of this exhibit features 24 new images, displayed in one of Canada’s largest outdoor exhibition spaces. Each photographer has been chosen to explore three specific areas of importance to the Greenbelt: Working the Land, Natural Beauty and People of the Greenbelt.
Bozica Radjenovic
Bozica Radjenovic presents a soft sculpture installation memorializing a forest lost to a housing development. She has knit sweaters for the trees, referencing the endless woolen items knit by her Serbian mother to protect the family from the cold. Radjenovic’s work echoes this nurturing compulsion, though it is extended to the Canadian landscape.

More about Summer 2011 Architecture at York Quay Centre:

How do we define a city landscape? What is the purpose of landscape in an urban environment?
What is the role of the natural in our experience of landscape?
Landscape has a new place in urban design. Once confined to parks and cemeteries, it is now spreading throughout the city. Today’s architects are using an integrated approach to landscape within the city fabric, designing open public spaces in tandem with built form and city infrastructure. The source of inspiration is no longer strictly from nature, but rather the city itself and the people within it. Landscape is taking an unprecedented role in defining the look and function of urban space. Participating firms Department of Unusual Certainties, David Lieberman Architect and Khoury Levit Fong explore this idea through three new projects. Visual artist Jason van Horne also contributes to the exhibition with the mixed-media installation FloraShock: An Ecotopian Vision of the Future.

Department of Unusual Certainties
Rarely the result of the comprehensive planning process, parkettes reveal a unique story about the city and their sites. Abandoned properties, infrastructural collisions, ad-hoc development deals and ecological interruptions all represent the hiccups in our rational city-building model that have led to the creation of parkettes. TORONTO PARKETTES is an examination of Toronto’s city-owned parkettes and their potential as sites of intervention. 525 sites are mapped and placed into eight typological categories according to their spatial characteristics. For each typology, a situation is speculated – exploring how a design strategy could play on the essential qualities of each parkette.

David Lieberman Architect
Forests beckon and seduce with promises of verdant pleasures. They are also dark and foreboding, and yet we are continually drawn to an imagined, if not real, sense of nature. David Lieberman constructs landscapes of the contemporary city offering many of the pleasures previously associated with our cultural understandings of forest and garden. The vertical elements are like musical scores orchestrating movement through the spaces of the city, spaces of intimacy and spaces of congregation. The dappled light of the canopies provide punctuation and further the subtleties of occupation, allowing for pause in the shade or revealing in the filtered light of the sun.

Listen, listen carefully, and listen intently. How is it that we understand dimension and appreciate the limits and containment of space as we choreograph movement through the city? The metaphorical conditions of painted landscapes afford opportunities for access and intervention. Spaces are perceived as we move through them, views are framed and transitions are mediated within the landscape, a moment of solace and refuge, challenging re-examination of that which we think we know and understand “a place where the line connects and the point stays free.”

The garden cities of the turn-of-the-20th-century established important patterns to restore urban life and the worlds of landscape experience. These verdant city models informed the most advanced thinking of modernist architects. Yet, the traditional garden city existed at densities much lower than those emerging in contemporary metropolises. The very fact that makes the garden city models of the past inapplicable to the present is the hyperdensity of new urban forms that make the goals of the garden city the more desirable now. The question of the moment is how to recuperate, under present circumstances, contact with the natural and organic world summoned by the term landscape.

Jason Van Horne
“Ecotopia” refers to a society that has moved beyond its harmful, consumer-driven habits in order to find a balance with the natural world. Jason Van Horne displays an installation that depicts a future where a major shift towards green living has occurred. However, it has not been achieved by the good will of the people, but rather thrust upon an industrialized society by a vengeful Mother Nature who struck back with full force and destroyed much of the world’s population, along with the worst of their damaging practices.

A century later, the cities across the globe have become overgrown with lush flora and wild fauna as a new generation of city folk have slowly been repopulating and making their homes in the ruins of crumbling buildings. With gardens on every rooftop, vertical farms inside old skyscrapers, rope bridges connecting condo towers and ram shackled dwellings cobbled together on top of former million dollar penthouses, the people of this imagined future scenario have, by default, ended up with what many of us wish was more prevalent in today’s cities.

AZ Awards

Harbourfront Centre is excited to host some of the world’s top architecture and design professionals for AZURE Magazine’s first annual AZ AWARDS Exhibition. The showcase, which will open on Saturday, June 18, will display products and projects at the forefront of design.

AZURE Magazine – Canada’s leading publication covering contemporary architecture and design on an international scale – is pleased to reveal the winners of its first annual 2011 AZ AWARDS. From the 600 submissions received from studios, firms and students hailing from 25 countries around the world, AZURE’s esteemed jury members chose 14 products and projects they consider to be outstanding in execution, at the cutting edge of innovation, and creatively brilliant. Winning designs and building projects will surprise and delight, as well as reflect current global trends in the fascinating world of design. The 2011 AZ AWARDS exhibition showcases the winners in the categories of furniture, lighting, architecture, interiors, landscape, conceptual and student work. Also on display are works from the 38 finalists and the People’s Choice winners.

For additional information and complete event listings, the public may visit or call the Information Hotline at 416-973-4000. Harbourfront Centre is located at 235 Queens Quay West, at the heart of downtown Toronto’s waterfront.

Visual Arts at Harbourfront Centre is a unique model for the presentation of emergent creative practice in Canada. It is a new paradigm for engagement between the public and art, inviting a broad audience to participate in a discourse of visual ideas. As part of Canada’s largest multidisciplinary arts complex, its position allows for the creation of new frameworks and anticipation of new directions.
Ten non-profit and non-collecting exhibition spaces varying from the conventional to the unique are programmed year-round. These venues are located within and outside York Quay Centre and range in size from a 2,000 square foot exhibition gallery to individual nine foot square vitrines. This main programming building is surrounded by the works of contemporary artists creating new projects in fine art, craft, new media, design, architecture and photography. Four exhibition slots are scheduled each year through submission proposals and internal directives. For more information, please contact 416-973-5379 or visit

Harbourfront Centre is an innovative, non-profit cultural organization which provides internationally renowned programming in the arts, culture, education and recreation, all within a collection of distinctive venues on a 10-acre site in the heart of Toronto's downtown waterfront.

Rosie Shaw

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